On Wednesday, Trump retweeted a photo of the sketch Daniels first unveiled on Tuesday’s episode of The View.
“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” he wrote. “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
The original tweet featured the sketch side-by-side with a split photograph of Daniels, smiling and posing next to a man with similar features. The post suggested Daniels was friends with the man who had allegedly threatened her, the tweeter writing, “Oops! This is awkward!”
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, issued two tweets Wednesday morning just after Trump’s message, writing in one that “In my experience, there is nothing better in litigation than having a completely unhinged, undisciplined opponent who is prone to shooting himself in the foot. Always leads to BIGLY problems…like new claims (i.e. defamation). LOL.”
“The president is clearly panicked and he should be. Because I believe that he knows the noose is tightening,” Avenatti told PEOPLE later Wednesday morning.
Asked if he planned to file a defamation lawsuit, the lawyer replied: “That’s something we are certainly exploring this morning.”
Daniels and Avenatti discussed the scandal surrounding her alleged relationship with Trump on The View, unveiling the police sketch for the first time.
Viewers then started sharing their own photos of potential suspects to Twitter, many joking that the man in the sketch had an uncanny resemblance to Patriots quarterback (and Trump friend) Tom Brady.
During The View appearance, Daniels slammed Trump’s claim that he didn’t know anything about the $130,000 payment his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen (whose office was raided by the FBI earlier this month), made to her just before the 2016 election. The payment was allegedly made to persuade her to keep quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006, just a few months after now First Lady Melania Trump gave birth to the couple’s only child, Barron.
“Let me just say, I work in the adult business and I’m a better actress than he is,” she said.
The payment was made five years after Daniels was allegedly threatened in 2011 — shortly after she opened up about the alleged affair to In Touch magazine. (The tabloid ultimately held the story, and only released it earlier this year.)
Daniels said on The View that she kept quiet about the alleged threat in 2011 out of fear. “I didn’t tell my husband at the time, I was embarrassed,” she said. “I didn’t want him to think I was a bad mom or that I put my daughter in danger.”
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Daniels currently is facing a $20 million lawsuit for breaching the hush agreement made in conjunction with the $130,000 payment in 2016. She hit Trump with her own lawsuit in March, saying that the agreement was not valid because Trump himself did not sign it.
The White House has repeatedly denied that Trump had an affair with Daniels.
- with reporting by DIANE HERBST